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BLOOD AND WATER Draft 1, Chapter 10 (Excerpt)

calais-france When Jay woke up, he had no idea what was going on. Everything looked foreign. There was something damp and heavy on his forehead. He reached up and discovered a washcloth. With a single touch, everything came flooding back to him: the Chunnel, Calais, Dr. Devereaux, and treatment. He’d consented to treatment without really knowing what it entailed. Was that wise? Probably not. Did it matter? Not at all.

He couldn’t wait around for death, whether it was his or Maia’s. They needed to find a solution.

When he tried to sit up, someone pressed a hand against his chest. He looked up to see Dr. Devereaux standing over him, frowning in the waning light. How much time had passed? How long had he been asleep? Was it sunset already?

"Where's Maia?" he asked.

"She's across the hall," she said. "We've all been waiting for you to wake up."

Jay took the washcloth off his head and set it on the floor. Dr. Devereaux made no move to pick it up. After looking around, he noticed that they were the only people there.

"Where are my friends?"

"Across the hall," she repeated, "in the laboratory. If you feel up to it, we'll go there now."

A laboratory. That meant chemicals, instruments, science - potentially even a cure. He swung his legs over the side of the couch, planting his feet on the floor. Dr. Devereaux hovered over him. When he started to stand, she grabbed his arm. The contact surprised him. Her hand was cold.

"Careful," she said. "You're weak. We'll go slowly."

He didn't feel weak, but he was still groggy. When was the last time he'd had a full night's sleep? He couldn't remember. He needed to rest. Maybe if he got a few more hours' sleep, he'd feel better.

"It's okay." He lowered himself down onto the couch. "I think I'll just sleep for a little bit longer."

Dr. Devereaux didn't let go of his arm. "Jay, you've slept enough. We need to get you some food and water and check your vitals. You're malnourished, dehydrated, and very, very ill. Do you understand?"

It took too much effort to answer her. Jay put his feet up and stretched out on the couch. He turned over on his side.

"Jay," she said, "se il vous plait. Please."

He let his eyes fall closed. "I'll get up in a minute."

Why did everyone want him to use so much energy? Didn't they know how sick he was? He needed his rest. He felt like he'd walked halfway around the world. He'd had a seizure, for God’s sake. Why couldn't everyone just leave him alone and let him sleep for a while?

A white-hot pain exploded against his cheek. His eyes snapped open. Dr. Devereaux stood with her hand out, massaging her palm. His fingers probed his skin. It burned.

"You slapped me," he said.

What do you think will happen next? I'd love to hear your thoughts and predictions below!

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"He couldn’t wait around for death, whether it was his or Maia’s. They needed to find a solution." (Click to tweet)